COLOMBO, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka received almost 1.8 million tourists in 2015, up 17.8 percent from the previous year, largely due to a strong growth from China, statistics from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority showed on Monday.
December arrivals grew 15.4 percent to 206,114 from 178,672 in 2014, totaling to an overall tourist arrival of 1,798,380 in the year compared to the 1,527,153 in the previous year.
China was the second highest country with the most number of tourist arrivals following India, and it recorded the highest growth by any country of 67.6 percent compared to the previous year with 214,783 tourist arrivals in 2015. In 2014 China recorded 128,166 tourists.
Indian arrivals grew 30.3 percent to 316,247 in 2015 from the year before, with the number of visitors in December rising 35.5 percent to 35,437.
United Kingdom recorded the third highest number of visitors with 161,845, a 12.3 percent increase from the previous year.
With an increase in the number of Chinese tourists, the Sri Lankan government recently said that it is targeting more Chinese airlines to arrive in the island nation as it looks to further expand its tourism industry this year.
Tourism has become the number one foreign exchange earner in the country and the government hopes to attract at least 3 million tourists by the end of 2016 and has set a target of 4 million by 2020.